Senator proposes mining Bitcoin (BTC) rather than producing cocaine

Colombian senator wants to mine Bitcoin (BTC) thanks to waterfalls

On October 2, 2021, Gustavo Petro, a popular Colombian senator, suggested that Colombia mine Bitcoin (BTC) by harnessing the energy generated by waterfalls. According to the former presidential candidate, cryptocurrency mining could replace cocaine cultivation.

¿Y que tal que el litoral pacífico aprovechara las caídas de alta pendiente de los rios de la cordillera occidental para producir toda la energía del litoral y reemplazar cocaína con la energía para las criptomonedas?

La moneda virtual es pura información y por tanto energía. https://t.co/65xdN2whuO

– Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) October 2, 2021

“What if the Pacific coast took advantage of the steep falls of the rivers in its western mountain range to harness its energy and replace cocaine with cryptocurrency?” », Says Gustavo Petro on his Twitter account.

The senator did not say more about this idea, obviously far from a concrete realization. Asked by Decrypt, Wesley Tomaselli, a journalist specializing in Latin America, believes that Colombia would indeed be able to mine Bitcoin with renewable energy.

“He is right in the situation where Colombia has great potential for mining Bitcoin because about three quarters of its electricity production comes from hydroelectric power,” says Wesley Tomaselli

In 2018, 75% of the country’s electricity came from hydropower plants. This rate is expected to increase with the commissioning of the Ituango Dam by the end of 2021. However, Bitcoin mining is far from being able to represent an alternative model of development to the cultivation of coca and to cocaine shipments.

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine. According to figures compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 70% of cocaine shipments originate from Colombia. Under pressure from the drug cartels, many farmers still cultivate the coca plant. In this context, it is illusory to present cryptocurrency mining as an alternative to drug cultivation. Moreover, Jehudi Castro Sierra, government blockchain advisor, considers Gustavo Petro’s idea to be “absurd”.

The former mayor of Bogota was reacting to the initiative put in place by El Salvador. Under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele, the Salvadoran government recently embarked on Bitcoin mining. To power the mining installation, El Salvador relies on the energy of volcanoes on its territory.

Also read: Would Brazil prepare to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender?

Colombia confirms its interest in cryptocurrencies

Colombia has been particularly open to the digital currency sector in recent years. It is also the Latin American country with the largest number of cryptocurrency ATMs on its soil. According to a study by Statista, the adoption rate of crypto-assets in Colombia hovers between 12% and 15%.

Under these conditions, La Banco de Bogotá, Colombia’s oldest bank, is testing the integration of digital currencies into its services. In addition, Colombian authorities have never sought to curb the rise of cryptocurrencies. At the start of the year, Colombia’s Financial Superintendence, an entity managed by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, authorized 9 exchange platforms to work with national banks. Finally, it will be recalled that the Bitcoin whitepaper is hosted on the official website of the Colombian government.

Also read – Kingdom of Tonga: a bill plans to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) in May 2022

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About the author: Florian Bayard

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